New Delhi: Ahead of the launch of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2, AAP has taken up the cause of "safai karmacharis" and said the government should initiate action to put an end to their woes.
Kejriwal appealed to the people to participate in the cleanliness drive and at the same time, asked them to acknowledge the contribution of "safai karmacharis" who work day in and day out to ensure cleanliness.
In a message aired on FM radio, Kejriwal asked people to give due respect to the "safai karmacharis".
"On October 2, all the VIPs after participating in the cleanliness driver for a few minutes will return to their homes. The endless job of ensuring cleanliness day in and day out is after all done by the safai karamcharis," Kejriwal said, in his response to a letter written to him as AAP chief by Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu to participate in the drive.
Kejriwal said the conditions of these safai karamcharis is quite bad and the government should work to put an end to their woes.
"To begin with, majority of these safai karamcharis are contract workers and are exploited by contractors. They are thrown out of jobs for no reason, and are not regularised even after they have worked for 30 years. Not only this, after every six months they have to pay a bribe of Rs 10,000-15,000 for getting their names registered in muster rolls (wage registers).
"They are made to sign on an amount much higher than what is actually paid to them as wages by contractors, who keep the balance amount. These poor people have no houses to live in and are also not entitled to take any leave," the former Delhi Chief Minister said.
He said many safai karamcharis have lost their lives after entering manholes for cleaning. "Those entering these manholes regularly to clean them face a high risk of catching skin diseases. It is highly unfortunate that there are no special government schemes for their treatment.
"In case we really intend to make India clean, then we have to immediately put an end to such inhuman cleaning methods and replace these with modern techniques. Safai karamcharis need to be provided with modern cleaning equipment," Kejriwal said.
Modi will launch the campaign on October 2 at Valmiki Sadan, which also happens to be the place from where AAP launched its party symbol 'broom'. The Valmiki community is also known to be a strong supporter of AAP.